child support, Wheaton family lawyerChild support is designed to help a child of divorced or unmarried parents to benefit from both parents’ financial support. Illinois considers it the right of the child to receive child support, so support payments are totally separate from issues of parental responsibility and parenting time. If you are a parent who is getting divorced or you share a child with someone you are not currently married to, you probably have several questions regarding child support.

If you are the parent with less parenting time, you may be wondering how much your support payments will be. If you are the parent with the majority of the parental responsibilities, or the custodial parent, you likely want to know what you will receive in child support. As with many aspects of family law, the issue of child support calculation can become complex.

Income Shares Model is Used to Calculate Child Support in Illinois

The laws regarding child support in Illinois have changed dramatically in recent years. Previous to July 2017, child support amounts were almost entirely dependent on the paying parent’s income. Now, the amount that a parent pays in child support is calculated based on the Income Shares Model. This is a more comprehensive means of calculating support that takes both parents’ income and financial circumstances into consideration. The new model also takes shared parenting into account. If a child spends at least 146 overnights a year with each parent, the method of calculating child support is slightly different.

What Is Considered Income During Child Support Calculations?

It is important for parents to understand what can be considered “income” under the Income Shares model and what financial resources are not considered income. When calculating income for child support orders, Illinois courts most often include funds from:

  • Salaries and earnings;
  • Tips and bonuses;
  • Unemployment insurance and disability insurance benefits;
  • Interest from investments;
  • Capital gains;
  • Pensions;
  • Trust or estate income;
  • Contractual agreements;
  • Military personnel fringe benefits;
  • Social Security benefits;
  • Veterans’ benefits;
  • Workers’ compensation benefits;
  • Gambling winnings;
  • Gifts;
  • Spousal support from a previous relationship; and
  • Certain employment benefits including subsidized housing or a company car.

In short, income from any revenue source can be considered when calculating child support. It is important to understand, however, that child support calculations are based on each parent’s net income. According to Illinois law, net income is a person’s total income from all revenue sources minus allowable deductions for state and federal taxes, as well as Social Security and Medicare taxes.

Contact a Wheaton, Illinois Divorce Attorney

At Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC, we realize that child support proceedings can be complicated and stressful, but we are equipped to help you find solutions. Contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney to discuss your case. Call 630-665-2500 for an appointment.



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cohabitation agreement, DuPage County family law attorneyMore and more couples are choosing not to get married. It is possible that many people avoid marriage for the simple fact that so many marriages end in divorce. Other couples have personal reasons for putting off tying the knot. However, legal and financial issues can arise when an unmarried cohabitating couple breaks up. Unlike when a married couple splits, a cohabitating couple does not have legal protections which ensure that their property is fairly split.

Illinois does not recognize common law marriages so there are no laws which direct how an unmarried couple’s property and debts should be divided when they break up. One way to protect yourself when living with a partner who you are not married to is a cohabitation agreement.

What Is a Cohabitation Agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is similar to a marriage agreement or prenuptial agreement in that it is a legally-enforceable contract that dictates how an unmarried couple’s property will be divided if they break up. A cohabitation agreement can be used to decide each party’s financial responsibilities in advance. More specifically, a cohabitation agreement can allow you to:

  • Distinguish property each party owned before moving in together from property purchased or earned during the relationship;
  • Describe any property received as a gift or inherited during the relationship;
  • Outline the couple’s shared expenses such as utilities and housing costs;
  • Decide how debts should be managed;
  • Make plans for how any future disputes will be resolved, such as through mediation; and
  • Decide in advance how property will be divided if the couple breaks up or if a party passes away.

Does Creating a Cohabitation Agreement Mean I Think the Relationship Will Fail?

Many people incorrectly assume that making contingency plans for how property and debt will be divided if their relationship ends means that they believe the relationship will not last. This is simply not true. Just as buying car insurance does not increase your chances of getting into a car accident, creating a cohabitation agreement does not increase your chances of breaking up. In fact, many people find that having an open, honest discussion about finances during the process of creating a cohabitation agreement actually helps prevent arguments and problems in the future.

Contact a Wheaton, Illinois Cohabitation Agreement Lawyer

To learn more about how a cohabitation agreement can benefit you and your family, contact an experienced DuPage Countyfamily law attorney from Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC. Schedule a confidential consultation by calling 630-665-2500 today.



Posted in Cohabitation, DIvision of Property | Tagged , , , , , |

divorce, DuPage County divorce lawyersIf you are considering filing for divorce or you have already decided to end your marriage, you are probably dealing with a litany of emotions. Some people feel a sense of relief when they decide to finally end a bad marriage. Others are overwhelmed by feelings of grief or regret. Whatever you are going through, understand that having a strong reaction to the end of your marriage is perfectly normal. Furthermore, there are several steps mental health experts say can help you deal with the barrage of feelings you will experience when you choose to get divorced.

Allow Yourself to Experience Grief and Other Negative Emotions Without Judgement

The Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory is a ranking of the most stressful life events a person can experience. Among the ranking of life events are things like being fired from your job, the death of a close family member, pregnancy, and more. You may be surprised to know that getting divorced is actually the second-most stressful life event on this list. Only the death of a spouse is considered more stressful than divorce. This is just one illustration which proves that anyone going through a divorce deserves to give themselves a break. Do not worry about the feelings you are or are not having. Try to allow yourself to experience these emotions without judgment.

Take Care of Your Mental and Physical Health

More and more research is illuminating the direct connection between emotional well-being and physical health. Many studies show that something as simple as taking a walk or participating in a group exercise class can do wonders for mental health. Experts also encourage anyone going through a divorce to be cautious when using drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol. It can be easy to fall into a dangerous pattern of overuse when your life is turned upside down by the breakdown of your marriage. Lastly, mental health experts encourage anyone coping with divorce to seek out the companionship of friends, family, and other supportive people. Many people find that joining a support group, church or other religious institution, or even a sports or hobby group is an effective way to cope with divorce.

Take the High Road

Divorce often brings out the worst in people. It can turn the spouse you once loved into someone you barely recognize. It can be very tempting to “fight fire with fire” when your soon-to-be-ex-spouse says or does something hurtful to you. However, retaliating against a hostile spouse will only escalate the situation. Taking the high road can help you rise above the drama and focus on your new life moving forward.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

If you are getting divorced and have further questions or concerns, contact an experienced Wheaton family law attorney from Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC.  Schedule a personalized consultation by calling us today at 630-665-2500.



Posted in Divorce, DuPage County Divorce attorney | Tagged , , , , |